Saturday, December 03, 2022

Wilson Weighs In

“All in all,” writes British author and critic Laura Wilson in today’s edition of The Guardian, assessing this last year’s fresh crop of crime fiction, “the genre seems in good shape: a broader church, less formulaic and more exciting.” To prove said thesis, Wilson identifies two dozen diverse releases that she identifies as “The Best Crime and Thriller Books of 2022”:

The Bullet That Missed, by Richard Osman (Viking)
The Cook, by Ajay Chowdhury (Harvill Secker)
A World of Curiosities, by Louise Penny (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Twyford Code, by Janice Hallett (Viper)
Wrong Place, Wrong Time, by Gillian McAllister (Michael Joseph)
The Devil Takes You Home, by Gabino Iglesias (Wildfire)
The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill, by C.S. Robertson
(Hodder & Stoughton)
Meantime, by Frankie Boyle (John Murray)
The Partisan, by Patrick Worrall (Transworld)
Hawk Mountain, by Conner Habib (Transworld)
WAKE by Shelley Burr (Hodder & Stoughton)
More Than You’ll Ever Know, by Katie Gutierrez (Michael Joseph)
The Maid, by Nita Prose (HarperCollins)
A Heart Full of Headstones, by Ian Rankin (Orion)
Give Unto Others, by Donna Leon (Hutchinson Heinemann)
The Murder Book, by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown)
Bleeding Heart Yard, by Elly Griffith (Quercus)
May God Forgive, by Alan Parks (Canongate)
Maror, by Lavie Tidhar (Apollo)
Blue Water, by Leonora Nattrass (Viper)
The Lost Man of Bombay, by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton)
Queen High, by C.J. Carey (Quercus)
Breaking Point, by Olivier Norek (MacLehose Press)
The Moose Paradox, by Antti Tuomainen (Orenda)

A very nicely balanced collection, this, comprising modern and historical works, prominent authors as well as newcomers, cozies and darker yarns, and an almost equal split of male and female writers. I’m especially pleased to see among Wilson’s picks Australian debut novelist Burr’s WAKE and Queen High, penned by Jane Thynne (the widow of Philip Kerr) under her recent pseudonym, both of which kept me riveted; and Rankin’s A Heart Full of Headstones, a book proving that while his now retired Edinburgh police detective has lost his badge, he's certainly not lost his bite.

* * *

Although Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, closed its doors in 2018, proprietors Robin and Jamie Agnew remain active online. They have recently begun selecting their own favorite reads of the year, posting separate lists per category. Below, for instance, are their choices for the 10 best historical mysteries of 2022.

Secrets of the Nile, by Tasha Alexander (Minotaur)
Because I Could Not Stop for Death, by Amanda Flower (Berkley)
A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder, by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
A Bend of Light, by Joy Jordan-Lake (Lake Union)
Light on Bone, by Kathryn Lasky (Woodhall Press)
Mother, Daughter, Traitor, Spy, by Susan Elia MacNeal (Bantam)
The Unkept Woman, by Allison Montclair (Minotaur)
The Echoes, by Jess Montgomery (Minotaur)
The Bangalore Detectives Club, by Harini Nagendra (Pegasus Crime)
Murder in Westminster, by Vanessa Riley (Kensington)

Click here to see also the pair’s choices 2022’s best cozy mysteries, and here to check out their honorable mentions of this year.

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